Clips From A Life

Denis Norden

This is the extraordinary life story of comic legend Denis Norden, told in momentary snapshots by the master British comedian himself. Containing reminiscences of a career stretching back to the golden age of the radio, through the heyday of cinema and the early pioneering days of television comedy, ‘Clips From a Life’ showcases Denis Norden’s creative genius at its very best. Told with Denis’ hallmark flashes of brilliant humour and sharp observation, the extraordinary life of this enduring humorist is unravelled through his private recollections of the ways things used to be, back then. Denis’ school-day musings, dry witticisms, and old-time sayings unearthed from days gone by, combined with remembrances of collaborations with famous figures of the day, from Eric Sykes to Bill Fraser, will sweep you back instantaneously to the magical gags, lively characters and laughter of the past. Flitting between Denis’ East End childhood and early career in Variety as a cinema manager for the Hyams Brothers, to his post-war work as a scriptwriter on the groundbreaking radio shows ‘Take It From Here’ and ‘In All Directions’, to the phenomenally successful television comedy ‘Whack-O!’ (all written with long-term collaborator Frank Muir), to his years as a solo writer, performer, and presenter on programmes such as the much-loved ‘It’ll Be Alright on the Night’, it is easy to see how Denis’ comic appeal has endured for decades, to make him one of the greatest British writers and performers to date. Brimming with Denis’s unique wit and personal warmth, this is a rich and compelling mix of anecdote and autobiography from a very special entertainer.

Reviews of Clips From A Life

  • ‘Don’t even open this book if you have important things to do. I have known Denis for over 700 years. I owe my entire film acting career to him, since the only parts I got offered were in his films, on his recommendations. He is kind, and wise, and wonderful company, better than Michael Palin. Much better than Michael Palin. Much, much better than Michael Palin. And he’s a decent height. The truth is…I love this man. I loved this book.’ John Cleese

    ‘This collection of anecdotes and autobiography reveals that he is much more than just a linkman. It is as much social history as life-story.’ Sunday Telegraph (Book of the Year)

    ‘A sparklingly anecdotal memoir of Norden’s long and golden career in comedy. A timely reminder, in these Brand and Ross-tinged times, of a true comic genius.’ Daily Mail (Book of the Year)

    ‘Compelling recollections.’ Roger Hutchinson, Scotsman

    ‘Exquisitely judged autobiographical vignettes. Norden’s more fragmentary style evokes the newsreels, passing the Maltesers of 60 years of comedy writing. He is beautifully economical. Now in his 80s, he imparts his wisdom gently.’ Kit Hesketh Harvey, Guardian

    ‘It’s predictably marvelous. High jinks backstage are the keynote – on television, radio and in the London cinemas where he presided during the Second World War.’ Scotsman